Sunday, April 17, 2011

Prayer #161: Palms Up


Do you know the full meaning of the word hosanna? I always thought it was a fancy way of saying Yay! Yippee! You go, God!

I wasn't completely wrong, but I wasn't complete either. At Palm Sunday mass today, Fr. Greenfield shared that hosanna also translates as save us. (More etymology here.) Which makes it a cry for help, a call to revolution, and a prayer for power all at once.

For me, this puts quite a different spin on the Biblical event that kicks off the Easter Holy Week for Christians. What I previously viewed as the palm before the storm (ha!) is really a boiling point. People are appealing to this radical man in broad daylight at the top of their lungs. Only he knows what's coming, and he's scared half to death. Fear and danger and hope and adrenaline are overtaking the city.

And now there's me sitting in a pew in downtown DC, thinking that sounds a lot like my morning commute.

But seriously, how does hosanna translate in our modern lives? Where do we find the palm-strewn Jerusalem in our own backyards?

Leave it to Fr. Greenfield to put it in perspective once more:
"We live life between hosanna and Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani [my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?]."
Ah. So we're not too far off after all. The adrenaline still courses. The tension still pulses. Our decisions, our dreams, our devotion -- they all exist between the palms and the passion. Between trust and trepidation. Between revolution and revelation.

No wonder the people shouted.

Prayer #161: Palms Up

My God, my God, do not forsake me. Mystify me, challenge me, test me, but please don't avoid me entirely.

Yes, I'm begging-bordering-on-beseeching. How can I not? I've been told You're the key to all that's worth having, but I'm not sure what I should do with that knowledge or how I should do it or even if I can do it.

This is my hosanna, Lord. I'm sitting here on the curb, waiting for You to pass me. My palms are facing up. I've got nothing in 'em. (Well, nothing except the weight of a thousand unanswered questions.) They're ready for You to fill them.

I think.

I hope.

Amen.

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